Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Quebec Conservative implicated in illegal lobbying probe

From the CBC:
The RCMP is investigating one of the construction contracts awarded for the nearly $1-billion project to renovate the West Block of Parliament, a Radio-Canada/Globe and Mail investigation has learned.The tendering process to repair the Parliament buildings began in 2007. Paul Sauvé, a Montrealer who owns the brick-laying company LM Sauvé, told Radio-Canada he hired Gilles Varin to lobby for him so he could win a government contract that could be worth millions of dollars. Varin, a long-time Quebec Conservative supporter, was not a registered lobbyist.

Sauvé said Varin claimed he had very close friends who worked for Public Works Canada. Sauvé said he agreed to pay Varin a monthly retainer averaging $4,000.

After LM Sauvé won a $9-million contract, Sauvé began to make larger payments to Varin — an extra $70,000 plus taxes. In all, Sauvé said, he paid more than $140,000 to Varin's company.

... Varin told Radio-Canada that he felt he didn't need to register as a lobbyist because all he did was pass along Sauvé's resumé to a friend. He also denied receiving any bonuses.
It seems to me that "passing along a resume to a friend" isn't the best way to try and not implicate yourself as an insider dealer in the government.

What action is taken on the part of the Harper government remains to be seen. My guess is not much.

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